Arizona: To the desert and beyond...
More complex than outsiders might realize...Not all desert, but the desert is beautiful...

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Apache Profile in 'the Land of Standing-up Rocks'

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A couple of years ago, on Black Friday, my wife and I headed away from the malls of Tucson and into the mountains: Chiricahua National Monument, just west of the New Mexico border in SE Arizona, was one of the last strongholds of the Chiricahua Apaches, who called this area "the land of standing-up rocks."

This particular mountain peak is Cochise Head (elev. 8087'); cock your head to the right and it resembles a man's profile. The 'eyelash' is formed by a tall Douglas fir tree. The volcanic formation is named after Chief Cochise, who died in 1874. About a decade after his death, several hundred of his surviving fellow Apaches were deported to Florida, never to return to their homeland again...

The history of the American Southwest is a sobering mix of people on the move with conflicting labels: pioneers/invaders, defenders/terrorists, war/genocide, natives/aliens...It still hasn't been all sorted out.

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by Joseph Cyr
AFAR Local Expert
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